A belief rule based expert system for predicting consumer preference in new product development

Y. Yang, C. Fu, Y.W. Chen, D.L. Xu, S.L. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the decision making process of new product development, companies need to understand consumer preference for newly developed products. A recently developed belief rule based (BRB) inference methodology is used to formulate the relationship between consumer preference and product attributes. However, when the number of product attributes is large, the methodology encounters the challenge of dealing with an oversized rule base. To overcome the challenge, the paper incorporates factor analysis into the BRB methodology and develops a BRB expert system for predicting consumer preference of a new product. Firstly, a small number of factors are extracted from product attributes by conducting both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Secondly, a belief rule base is constructed to model the causal relationships between the characteristic factors and consumer preference for products using experts’ knowledge. Furthermore, a BRB expert system is developed for predicting consumer preference in new product development, where the factor values transformed from product attributes are taken as inputs. Relevant rules in the system are activated by the input data, and then the activated rules are aggregated using the evidential reasoning (ER) approach to generate the predicted consumer preference for each product. Finally, the BRB expert system is illustrated using the data collected from 100 consumers of several tea stores through a market survey. The results show that the prototype of the BRB expert system has superior fitting capability on training data and high prediction accuracy on testing data, and it has great potential to be applied to consumer preference prediction in new product development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105–113
Number of pages9
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2016


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